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I've written before (article #6) about conferences and trade shows. This fall I had a little whirlwind of such events: three conferences/shows in four weeks! So this article is to report on my findings about various topics of interest to the readers.
NOTE: This article was written in 2004. Keeping the links up to date is too much work. For up to date links, see the Game Biz Links page. E3, for example, changed drastically after the 2006 show. Nevertheless, the principles discussed herein still apply to today's shows and conferences.
KGC 2004 (Korean Games Conference)
- Where: Seoul, S. Korea (Coex Convention Center)
- When: October 14-16, 2004
- Website: http://kgc.gameinfinity.or.kr/en/
- My speaking topic: "Making a Game Schedule You Can Believe In" (a follow-up to my previous year's topic, "Game Design: Striking a Balance Between Creativity and Planning"). It was well attended and seems to have been well received.
- Trends observed: Learned a lot about the growing industry in China, especially for mobile games. Observed something of a reduction in size of the Korean industry - lower attendance from the year before; stronger focus on the part of the companies who survived the shakeout; commitment to improving processes and practices (as evidenced by strong attendance at my early Saturday morning lecture). Korean consumer interest in online games and mobile games continues strongly. Console games not going to take over in Korea or China anytime soon. As of 2005, KGC is part of a larger game-oriented (no pun intended) event called GSTAR. Website: www.gstar.or.kr
- Side activities: Did a little sightseeing and went Go-Stop shopping.
- Photos of the conference
CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2004 (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association)
- Where: San Francisco, CA, USA (Moscone Center)
- When: October 25-27, 2004
- Website: http://www.wirelessit.com/
- Trends observed: Mobile games are growing by leaps and bounds. Not only that, but mobile phones are going to do a lot more than take pictures and play games (oh - and let us talk to people). These things are going to become personal digital assistants as well.
- Purpose of trip: Meetings with design and consulting clients; followup meeting with a Korean company.
- Side activities: Stayed with friends. Met an internet mah-jongg friend and went mah-jongg shopping in Chinatown.
- Photos of the trade show
Montreal Game Summit
My speech at Montreal Game Summit
What and Why?
The benefit of such events varies depending on what stage of your career you're in, and what purpose you have in mind for attending, and how well you plan and prepare and follow up. And on what kind of event it is.
- A trade show is an event where companies show off their wares. Usually open only to people who work in that trade.
- A conference is an event where speakers share knowledge and discussions take place on specific hot topics.
- An expo is pretty much the same as a trade show - but sometimes may be open to the general public.
- Often, a big trade show (like E3) will also have a small conference, on the side. There will be lots of press in attendance at these shows. CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment is a trade show.
- And a big conference (like GDC) will often have an exhibit hall for companies to show their wares - usually development tools rather than retail games. And there may be hiring events as well. KGC and the Montreal Game Summit are both conferences.
The Moral of the Story
- If you're a wannabe and can't afford to attend or otherwise can't get a pass to a conference or show: don't worry, be patient. Read about the event afterwards in trade publications (online or in print), and/or see if you can download the speeches from the event organizers' website. There'll be lots of other events you can attend.
- If you're in the industry and your employer offers you a chance to attend a conference or trade show: take it. Go. You'll be glad you did.
- If you're in the industry and your employer does not offer you a pass: then weigh the cost (and the vacation days) against the benefits for you. Usually, the main benefits for employed professionals are (1) knowledge gained from speaking sessions, (2) for a trade show like E3 or CTIA, the chance to look at competitive products - and (3) contacts, especially with potential employers who might hire you away from your current employer. This latter one explains why many employers don't pay for their employees to attend industry events.
- If you're a freelancer like me: it pays to go to as many events as you can manage.
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© 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be re-published without written permission of the author.